Links 7/14/14

Happy Bastille Day!

Adaptive and Selective Seed Abortion Reveals Complex Conditional Decision Making in Plants Jstor. Lambert: “From March but very interesting.” So now I’m going to have to feel guilty about eating plants too?

Future – The ultimate comeback: Bringing the dead back to life BBC (Chuck L)

British rocket scientist says he’s designed a better saucepan Los Angeles Times (Chuck L)

Children aren’t worth very much—that’s why we no longer make many Quartz (Angachel)

Virtual biology: Computer worms Economist (Chuck L)

Geophysicists Concerned as Oklahoma’s Earthquake Total Surpasses California’s AccuWeather (David L)

BP’s Latest Estimate Says World’s Oil Will Last 53.3 Years OilPrice. Long enough for current leaders to stay on their apres moi le deluge trajectory.

Breathtaking but predictable: Why Ralph Norris’ CBA rogue claim doesn’t wash Sydney Morning Herald (EM)

US has happy economists, Oz depressed ones MacroBusiness

Samsung suspends factory in China after finding evidence that it used child labor Quartz (furzy mouse)

Pope Francis: 1 in 50 clergy are pedophiles Aljazeera. Swedish Lex:

We do not have more data than the quote provided by the Pope. If this means that at any given time, 2% of men anywhere in the church hierarchy has committed child rape (not only imagined it via e.g. child porn, but actually carried out the act) at least once, it means that the remaining 98% inevitably either must be in the know or must have decided to consistently look the other way. These careers span over decades and the odds of not having come in contact with a priest/child rapist/colleague during those years must be considered pretty minimal. The Catholic Church is known to have tried all the tricks in the book to prevent the truth about child rape to emerge.

If any other school or organization that has as a job to look after the most vulnerable admitted to having as much as 2% of child rapists among its staff, it would be immediately dismantled by the authorities.

BIS chief fears fresh Lehman from worldwide debt surge Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

How central banks can deal with bubbles Wolfgang Munchau, Financial Times

Secret Path Revealed for Chinese Billions Overseas Bloomberg

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy hit by new corruption scandal after ‘being recorded offering to meet Prince Albert of Monaco to set up plum job for judge‘ Daily Mail (Lee)


Israeli Interior Minister: “The Goal of the Operation Is to Send Gaza Back to the Middle Ages.” George Washington

Jewish hate of Arabs proves: Israel must undergo cultural revolution Haaretz


What Was Left Behind: Ukraine’s Cities After Rebel Retreat mashable (Mark Ames via bob)

Hypocrisy alert! Kiev neonazis target LGBT club and the NATO media is silent? Penny for your thoughts (Chuck L). Remember the Olympics?


U.S. Sees Risks in Assisting a Compromised Iraqi Force New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Edward Snowden condemns Britain’s emergency surveillance bill Guardian

How Your Local Library Can Help You Resist the Surveillance State Waging NonViolence (Nikki)

Home, hacked home Economist

Imperial Collapse Watch

A farewell to trust: Obama’s Germany syndrome Ed Luce, Financial Times. An extended comparison to Nixon!!!

Spies Like Us New York Times (David L)

What the Fed Really Meant to Say Bloomberg

Junior traders offered immunity in forex probe Financial Times

How Property Tax Lenders Prey on the State’s Most Vulnerable Homeowners Texas Observer (Nikki)

IRS Fines Marijuana Merchants for Refusing to Commit a Felony Reason. Lance N: “There is a major biz opportunity for banks that cater to clinics & growers.”

Companies That Offer Help With Student Loans Often Predatory, Officials Say New York Times

No Water for Motown: Why Detroit Is Denying Its Citizens This Basic Human Right Nation. Nikkei: “Class Warfare Alert: N.B. The local golf course $400,000 in arrears did not suffer a water shut off.”

The divergent languages of business and medicine KevinMD (Roy P). Today’s must read. And notice how language serves to obscure the class warfare issues, as well as the real stakes.

Diary: Burning Man London Review of Books (Chuck L). This does not sound very liberating to me. It comes off like “doing being liberated”. Now admittedly, finding hallucinogens in your home town without consequences is probably a dicey proposition for most, but I have to think experimental and casual sex is easy to locate on the Web.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):

links sleeping squirrels

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. abynormal

    Not wanting to deny, I
    believed it. Not wanting
    to believe it, I denied
    our Bastille day. This,
    is nothing to storm. This
    fourteenth of July. With
    my own eyes, I saw the fierce
    criminal passing for citizen
    with a weapon, a piece of wood
    and five for one. We laugh
    Bastille laughter. These are
    not men of death. A pot
    of rice is their foul reward.

    I have at last started
    to understand the origin
    of our vileness, and being
    unable to deny it, I suggest
    its nativity.
    In the shame of knowledge
    of our vileness, we shall fight.
    Martin Carter

    “The poet would have seen it as ironic that on a day when people were marching for liberation, just as they did in Paris in 1789, “our Bastille Day” as he saw it, was a day when the society was demonstrating just how imprisoned the people were. They were in that condition because of how easy it was for one of them to have been enlisted to commit such an act — the cold-blooded murder of a priest in broad daylight — for “a pot of rice”. The poet saw in this act “the origin of our vileness”, meaning he was taking it above the immediate event and placing it in the context of a human condition. It is a tragic condition in which men could be placed in such low positions that they could be enlisted by their oppressors to set upon fellow sufferers in this way.”

  2. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Pope Francis: 1 in 50 clergy are pedophiles Aljazeera

    “If any other school or organization that has as a job to look after the most vulnerable admitted to having as much as 2% of child rapists among its staff, it would be immediately dismantled by the authorities.”–Swedish Lex

    What could possibly make you say that? The evidence that does manage to trickle out suggests just the opposite. From Penn State to Boys Town to Jimmy Saville and the BBC, it is far more likely that the “authorities” are IN ON IT.

    With regard to the Catholic Church, it’s the PARENTS that I can’t understand. How can they continue to put their children in these situations? Forget the “authorities.” It’s the parents who should have “dismantled” this “church” long ago.

    And I can’t help thinking about the tens of thousands of “unaccompanied minors” now pouring over the border to be “given asylum” in America, never to be heard from again. I’m sure that there are plenty of perverts licking their chops over this unprecedented “opportunity.” Without the slightest fear of any “authorities.”

    1. abynormal

      “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”
      “That was the Jesuit motto, alleged to be attributed to Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit Order. The implication is that the best opportunity to indoctrinate a person in a lifetime of belief and devotion to religious dogma is when they are young.”
      “Catholics have more extreme sex lives because they’re taught that pleasure is bad for you. Who thinks it’s normal to kneel down to a naked man who’s nailed to a cross? It’s like a bad leather bar.”
      John Waters

      1. optimader

        eating the body and drinking the blood? Come on..Any private club that had that ritual would be raided by the SWAT team and have a week of Breaking News banners.

      2. optimader

        Some equal time

        Frank Zappa – Catholic Girls Lyrics
        Catholic Girls
        With a tiny little mustache
        Catholic Girls
        Do you know how they go?
        Catholic Girls
        In the Rectory Basement
        Father Riley’s a fairy
        But it don’t bother Mary

        Catholic Girls
        At the CYO
        Catholic Girls
        Do you know how they go?
        Catholic Girls
        There can be no replacement
        How do they go, after the show?

        All the way
        That’s the way they go
        Every day
        And none of their mamas ever seem to know
        For all the class they show
        There’s nothing like a Catholic Girl
        At the CYO
        When they learn to blow . . .

        Father Riley:
        They’re learning to blow
        All the Catholic Boys!

        Warren Cuccurullo . . .

        Father Riley:
        Catholic Boys!

        Kinda young, kinda WOW!

        Father Riley:
        Catholic Boys!

        Vinnie Colaiuta . . .

        Where are they now?
        Did they all take The Vow?

        Father Riley:
        Catholic Girls!

        Carmenita Scarfone!

        Father Riley:
        Catholic Girls!

        Officer Butzis:
        Hey! She gave me VD!

        Father Riley:
        Catholic Girls!

        Toni Carbone!

        With a tongue like a cow
        She could make you go WOW!

        VD Vowdy vootie
        Right away
        That’s the way they go
        Every day
        Whenever their mamas take them to a show
        Pass the popcorn please
        There’s nothing like a Catholic Girl
        With her hand in the box
        When she’s on her knees

        She was on her knees
        My little Catholic Girl

        In a little white dress
        Catholic Girls
        They never confess
        Catholic Girls
        I got one for a cousin
        I love how they go
        So send me a dozen
        Catholic Girls
        (Well well well)
        Catholic Girls
        (Ma-ma-mum ma-ma-mum)
        Catholic Girls
        (Well well now)
        Catholic Girls
        (Ma-ma-mum ma-ma-ma-ma-mum)
        Catholic Girls
        (Ma-ma ma-ma-maaah)
        Catholic Girls
        (Well well)
        Catholic Girls
        (Ma-ma ma-ma-ma-mum)
        (Ma-ma ma-ma ma-mum)
        Catholic Girls
        (Ma-ma ma-ma-ma-mum)
        Catholic Girls
        Catholic Girls

        Central Scrutinizer:
        The is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER . . .
        Joe had a girl friend named Mary.
        She used to go to the church club every week.
        They’d meet each other there
        Hold hands
        And think Pure Thoughts

          1. optimader

            “…About Colaiuta’s ability to play Zappa’s notoriously complex music and the complex style of polyrhythms, guitarist Steve Vai told the following story:

            He’s one of the most amazing sight-readers that ever existed on the instrument. One day we were in a Frank rehearsal, this was early ’80s, and Frank brought in this piece of music called “Mo ‘N Herb’s Vacation.” Just unbelievably complex. All the drums were written out, just like “The Black Page” except even more complex. There were these runs of like 17 over 3 and every drumhead is notated differently. And there were a whole bunch of people there, I think Bozzio was there. Vinnie had this piece of music on the stand to his right. To his left he had another music stand with a plate of sushi on it, okay? Now the tempo of the piece was very slow, like “The Black Page.” And then the first riff came in, [mimics bizarre Zappa-esque drum rhythm patterns] with all these choking of cymbals, and hi-hat, riffs, spinning of rototoms and all this crazy stuff. And I saw Vinnie reading this thing. Now, Vinnie has this habit of pushing his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand. Well I saw him look at this one bar of music, it was the last bar of music on the page. He started to play it as he was turning the page with one hand, and then once the page was turned he continued playing the riff with his right hand, as he reached over with his left hand, grabbed a piece of sushi and put it in his mouth, continued the riff with his left hand and feet, pushed his glasses up, and then played the remaining part of the bar. It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Frank threw his music up in the air. Bozzio turned around and walked away. I just started laughing.[2]

            Colaiuta is mentioned in Frank Zappa’s song, “Catholic Girls” by the character Mary…”

            Five Peace Band (Chick Corea not pictured)Christian McBride, Vinnie Colaiuta, Kenny Garrett and John McLaughlin playing jazz

    2. DakotabornKansan

      When I was a young lad in the early 1950’s, not long after my father died, a parish priest took an “interest” in my welfare and singled me out for “counseling” at the rectory. My mother, for reasons I won’t go into, reluctantly consented.

      The first session ended quickly. Thankfully, unlike the stories one hears of submission to the priestly figure, my alarm bells (predator alert) went off and I immediately fled. After telling my mother about my experience, she went to the parish monsignor and raised hell about that priest. Nothing was ever done. My mother’s complaint disappeared into the hidden histories of the church.

      However, she did remove us forthwith from the Catholic Church

      As these scandals have emerged, I am even more proud of my mother for what she did.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I attended catholic grade school in the 50’s and 60’s. Eight years. Mostly the same kids in my class each year.

        There were two boys–always “in trouble.” “Disciplined” relentlessly by the nuns. With rulers, pointers and humiliation. To this day, I remember their names.

        Word in the parish was that they came from “bad families.”

        I am proud of your mother, too, and I don’t even know her.

    3. Dana

      The percentage of pedophiles among male adults in the general population is estimated to be up to 5%. So if Francis’ figure is accurate, the prevalence of pedophilia among the priesthood would be at worst no greater, and possibly less than in the general population. Nearly all of us know a pedophile or two. Some of us were their victims. Some are in deep denial. A brave few make a stand. Without minimizing the horror of institutional coverups in any way, I don’t think you can blame this one on the church.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I would be pretty certain that Francis’ figure is based on priests who acted out, at least to a degree, as opposed to merely watched kiddie porn. So odds favor very different threshold measures.

        1. Jake Mudrosti

          Regarding this: “If any other school or organization that has as a job to look after the most vulnerable admitted to having as much as 2% of child rapists among its staff, it would be immediately dismantled by the authorities.”

          One would think that’s true, and yet… and yet…

          Bolkovac’s book The Whistleblower, and the 2010 movie based on the book, highlight the attempts to silence, harass, and threaten her when she revealed the open secret in Bosnia: rampant human rights abuses and criminality among UN personnel and military contractors (DynCorp).

          From that CSMonitor interview: “During the training process at DynCorp it became evident that at least one person in our group was familiar with the use of [underage] women – 12-to-15-year-olds, children – for sex [in] Bosnia….That really shocked and appalled me, and I hoped that I had misunderstood this guy, but by the time I got to Bosnia it was pretty clear that this kind of activity was prevalent.”

          Factor in the UN personnel engaged in human trafficking, and it starts to look really bad when Angelina Jolie gets applauded for her smiling UN boosterism. And that’s not even in the league of military contractors such as DynCorp. One would think that the already-known facts would stir loud calls for reform and vigilant monitoring. And yet… and yet……….

        2. David Lentini

          My view is that Francis’s comment is based on some internal review of church documents, which probably include a variety of reports and inferences. It would be helpful for the Church to release a complete report on its records and findings.

        3. cwaltz

          That doesn’t really mesh with Catholic dogma though. In Catholicism just thinking about things is the equivalent of sinning. At least it was when I was growing up in the church.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        The difference, of course, being that any of the 5% of the general population that were caught acting on their pedophilia would be handled by the criminal justice system, not internally, by their fellow employees. They would then be sent to prison, to live in solitary confinement (very Catholic), or released into the general population, where they would be preyed upon, themselves.

      3. David Lentini

        “We do not have more data than the quote provided by the Pope. If this means that at any given time, 2% of men anywhere in the church hierarchy has committed child rape (not only imagined it via e.g. child porn, but actually carried out the act) at least once, it means that the remaining 98% inevitably either must be in the know or must have decided to consistently look the other way. ”

        I’ll add my observation on Sweedish Lex’s comment here, rather than start a new thread.

        I’m not sure how Lex’s argument works. How would the entire priesthood know if 2% of the members were pedophiles? Given the research that shows just how secretive and sly pedophiles can be, detecting them can be very difficult even under very close conditions. If 2% of the population had tatoos on their buttocks, would even their friends necessarily ‘know” that? I doubt it.

        If we use the 5% rate, then according to this logic, we should be able to identify—and therefore jail—all pedophiles. I don’t see that happening. Does that mean that we’re all suppressing justice? No.

        I certainly know more than 100 people, but I can’t in any way find reason suspect any of them being pedophiles. Maybe the clues are there, but I don’t know them. That doesn’t render me corrupt.

        The Church has a big problem. A problem brought on by decades of naïvté, ignorance, denial, and criminal suppression. But making wild claims that every priest, nun, deacon, and therefore every parishoner as well if you follow the dynamics, won’t help anyone.

        1. Leviathan

          Bravo. A model retort. On a slightly different note, perhaps the NSA can help the church identify and root out pedophiles. It’d be nice if we got something in return for our complete loss of freedom.

          1. Swedish Lex

            I also know hundreds of people and I do not know whether they have sick ideas like these. But my friends and I are not soldiers in the same religious sect, we have not been trained and indoctrinated together, we do not hang out toghether 24/7, sometimes in complete isolation from the real world, and we do not plan to spend the rest of our lives together living in splendid isolation, fortunately.

            In addition, I my friends and I have not taken vows toghether to protect our religious sect above everything else, like the catholic priests have, even if it means betraying the most vulnerable, children, that you are supposed to “protect” (from Slate):

            “Very much more serious is the role of Joseph Ratzinger, before the church decided to make him supreme leader, in obstructing justice on a global scale. After his promotion to cardinal, he was put in charge of the so-called “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (formerly known as the Inquisition). In 2001, Pope John Paul II placed this department in charge of the investigation of child rape and torture by Catholic priests. In May of that year, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated “in the most secretive way … restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone … is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication.” (My italics). Nobody has yet been excommunicated for the rape and torture of children, but exposing the offense could get you into serious trouble. And this is the church that warns us against moral relativism! (See, for more on this appalling document, two reports in the London Observer of April 24, 2005, by Jamie Doward.)”

            In such an extremely closely knit hierarchy where the esprit de corps means everything, and which has a long history of various types of abuse, including child rape, it is obvious to me that the whole organisation must have known and, also, participated in the cover-up.

            Had any school or other organisation that is supposed to take care of children had these features, it would have been easy to outlaw them pretty much in any jurisdiction. But since this is “sacred”, normality and normal rules do not apply.

            The list goes on; the Vatican’s meddling in Spain to re-introduce a ban on abortions (happening now), the Vatican teaming up with dictatorships from across the globe to reduce freedom of speech, etc.

            The Vatican has recently hired McKinsey….Is the Pope’s new defence tactics a result of applying the consultants’ communication manual?

            1. David Lentini

              “But my friends and I are not soldiers in the same religious sect, we have not been trained and indoctrinated together, we do not hang out toghether 24/7, sometimes in complete isolation from the real world, and we do not plan to spend the rest of our lives together living in splendid isolation, fortunately. ”

              I doubt all 400,000+ clergy hang out 24/7 in any way, and certainly in the sort of intimate setting needed to even begin to suspect who’s a pedophile. Nor do all of them “live in splended isolation”. Your claim is just absurd and sounds like a big conspiracy theory.

              As for Ratzinger, his 2010 memo went as far as the bishops. Given the hierarchical nature of the Church, it’s not clear how much farther that would have gone, which leaves the vast majority of the clergy and laity in likely in the dark. We also don’t know what the bishops did about the memo.

              And Ratzinger is now gone. He has been replaced with a Pope who has removed and disciplined quite a few bishops in his brief time in office so far.

              So maybe you’re certain you know everything. But I see little evidence beyond your ipse dixit.

              1. Swedish Lex

                We clearly disagree but I find it astonishing that you would give the Vatican, and its 400.000 professionals who have given oath to leave evertyhing behind them to only and exclusively serve the Church above all, the benefit of the doubt when they so obviously do not deserve it.

                We have a new Pope. Sure. Like if changing the CEO of a tobacco company would change much.

                1. Swedish Lex

                  The Guardian:
                  “Regardless of what the pope did or did not say, advocates for the victims of clerical sex abuse continue to argue that the church plays down the true scale of the problem. Barbara Dorris, outreach director of the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, said on Sunday that, a website that attempts to document abuse cases and apparent cover-ups, had figures suggesting that the proportion of US priests accused of abuse from 1950 until 2013 was about 5.6%.

                  “The real percentage of predator priests is of course much higher,” Dorris said. “And in the far larger developing world – where the power imbalance between clergy and congregants is far greater and where bishops enjoy far more status and deference – we believe the rate is higher still. No one benefits when the world’s top Catholic official mischaracterises the crisis by talking often about abuse and rarely about cover-up. No one benefits when he minimises the crisis, by low-balling estimates of child-molesting clerics.”


                  1. David Lentini

                    “a website that attempts to document abuse cases and apparent cover-ups, had figures suggesting that the proportion of US priests accused of abuse from 1950 until 2013 was about 5.6%”

                    From other comments above, that puts the rate in the clergy at about the estimate for the general population. As Yves pointed out, a lot depends on how you count pedophiles.

                    And you’re mischaracterizing my point. I’m not letting anyone “off the hook”. My point has been that your extrapolations are unfair and unsupported. Those who committed crimes, and those who suppressed evidence and otherwise protected those people, should be punished as far as the law allows and excommunicated. But you spread the blame to nearly everyone who is Catholic, by pointing to the various oaths, which prove nothing when it comes to the actual knowledge of crime.

                    1. Swedish Lex

                      Totally wrong. The blame and guilt lies with the organisation. The flock is blinded by its faith and therefore part of problem, but not the root.

                      Freedom of faith is fundamental as is freedom from faith.

                      Organised religion always ends in opression.

                    2. Swedish Lex

                      Nowhere I spread the blame to “nearly everyone who is catholic”. But I blame the organisation 100%. Not the flock which is allowing itself to be deluded.
                      Freedom of fait and freedom from faith is fundamental. Organised religion, however, always ends in opression. Organised religion has been on the wrong side of history forever.
                      If we have to wait for normal legal procedure to have its course, as you suggest, and only point fingers when there are firm convictions, then we have to wait through an uncalculable number of further victims, mostly children.
                      Just close down the thing.

                  2. The Heretic

                    Actually Swedish Lex, the solution to te Catholic Church is the same solution I would apply to all the TBTF Banks. It ithe people of the institution that drive the institution to commit acts that are good or bad; it is the people of the institution that implement policies and decisions that transmit the culture of the institution, both good and bad elements. So it is the people of institution that must be exposed, rooted out, and punished for their bad behaviour, and power transferred to people of honesty, integrity, courage and compassion to reform the Church.’ And if the people who committed the crimes or who covered them up are not exposed, then where ever they go, they will commit new crimes. So I believe the solution for the chruch is to do the opposite of why those men had done. I would start with a hostile and aggressive investigation; anyone who impedes investigation or anyone who destroys documents are burned big in the court. Prosecute all persons who are involved in sexual crimes, and prosecute all the bishops who obscured or his the situation as conspirators. This time, Let the fire of inquisition burn bright for justice.

                    I would apply those actions as a blueprint to reform any institution of bank. The culture of secrecy, dishonesty and servile deference to authority must be completely destroyed in the Church (just like Adolf Eichmann who says he contravened his conscience to serve the needs of the Nazi party, which allowed him to exterminate the Jews) , as it should be in any institution committed to serve he public good.

                    Btw… I am a Catholic, but I would support any initiative that would clean out the corruption ofthe church, but not to destroy it.

            2. toldjaso

              Rapes by Rabbi’s handled likewise: “Internally” (no right for the State Justice system to be informed). And how about the Boy Scouts? Their Brit founder was known to be a pederast as well as a spy. Then there’s the “crown possessions” the Isles of Jersey and Man, impenetrable by Justice of any kind. And on and on. I’ve seen the title of a new book at — “TRAUMA BOND” (with view toward the origin of “evil”) that may tie the scarlet ribbon of child abuse by “protectors” into a neat bow. Kay Griggs has been quite revealing of “how it works” among the “elites” while Alice Miller has walked boldly where Freud refused to tread (maybe he was a victim of pedophile incest himself). These crimes against humanity-in-formation have been going on not for decades, but for centuries, and wars suit the purposes of the ruling perverts splendidly (esp. as an orphan machine). How long have the globalist “lords” been beating the drum for “man-boy love” with the age of consent at 12? As long as boys and men are traumatized/ruined/enslaved, women ain’t got a prayer, and “not to be born is the best for” girls. Psychos want the world in their image, with the official “approval” of society to salve their self-esteeem, their “exceptionalism”. Aren’t they very close to Missionaccomplished in every facet of their phallic dominion dream? Child “prostitution” is just so “sexy” to the Power Elite in their lust to have it ALL, to taste every forbidden fruit in global elite paradise, with impunity, in the thrill of vice “bought and paid for” — humans commoditized and commercialized so that it’s “nothing personal, just business” in a depraved buyer’s market.

              From “Snakes In Suits” to snakes in royal robes, the psychopaths are bent on increasing their kind; and as murderously pornographic violence increases, the Italian film “Salo” becomes the design for death-in-life. The Biblical account of the vices and vicious aggression of the denizens of Sodom and Gomorrah demonstrates how long this has been going on. Italian Renaissance authors railed against the vices of priests, while embracing them among the laity (v. “Il Candelaio”; and “Mandragola” and “Clizia” by Machiavelli; review the history of the Borgias (actually Spanish “Borje”). The constructed world today puts Renaissance Italy in its place.

              And every bit is “calculated” to the nth degree, just like HFT — yet more traffic in vice.

        2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          I don’t give a damn how many people had or have personal knowledge of these crimes. Sexual molestation of the children of this sect, by its own clergy, has become well known (not to mention the FACT that the power structure covered for the serial sexual predators and further enabled them by introducing them to fresh meat, as an apparent matter of policy). That anyone could still dismiss that fact and accept the lack of response by their group’s “leadership,” paints an even more detailed and abhorrent portrait of the laity. Membership in this group is more important to the rank-and-file than investigating and eliminating those who would sexually victimize the children of their loyal membership.

          Somebody must have put something in their “holy” water.

          1. David Lentini

            “That anyone could still dismiss that fact and accept the lack of response by their group’s “leadership,” paints an even more detailed and abhorrent portrait of the laity. Membership in this group is more important to the rank-and-file than investigating and eliminating those who would sexually victimize the children of their loyal membership.

            Somebody must have put something in their “holy” water.”

            Dismissal by whom? Acceptance by whom? We all want answers. We all want justice. We all want security. Your statements are wildly unfair, inaccurate, and frankly bigoted.

            Pedophilia and its suppression is present throughout society. Moral cowardice taints all religions and churches, because these are human institutions. But claims like Lex’s that “everyone knew” are just rubbish. Do we blame all Jews for Israel’s actions, in view of the Israeli government’s claim that it is the Jewish state? Do we blame all Lutherans for the Holocaust?

            Perhaps your point is that we all should renounce membership in any organization that has become corrupted in some way. Where then do you go? Where will you live?

            Bashing those who are involved in these crimes is one thing. Bashing all Catholics and the Catholic religion is something else. Guilt by association and smearing by stereotype are just wrong and help no one. You can’t be a bigot for the “right side”.

            1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              Only organizations that claim the guidance of a deity to cover their crimes against the defenseless.

            2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

              BTW, David Lentini, have you stood up during Mass and demanded that the criminals in the clergy be held accountable to law enforcement authorities?

              I suspect the answer is “no.”

              If I am correct, you are the problem, sir. You support child molestation by your silence WITHIN your own goddamned organization.

              1. David Lentini

                That’s quite a claim, Mr. Schminson. I hope you’re prepared to prove it.

                Clearly you’re a very angry man. There’s no point in discussing anything with you, since your hate is all the proof you need.

                In fact, I have voiced complaints and concerns.

                And I’ll pray for you.

                1. David Lentini

                  And I have raised this issue. What have you done other than attack me and rant?

    4. Banger

      Precisely right, Katniss! Why people remain Catholics and favor the ridiculous idea of a celibate priesthood is beyond me. The sad fact is that only people with a profound spiritual calling can attempt celibacy because it requires moving those energies somewhere as practiced in tantric yoga and other practices. Barring that the energy has to go somewhere–sex is not something you can just shut-up.

      1. David Lentini

        I think people remain Catholic because they find the religion comforting and valuable. The human institution is another matter. Many Catholics would be comfortable with married priests, birth control, and wider access to abortion.

        As for “in on it”, I think the Church suffers from the same problems that plague all institutions—The élites avoid, hide, deny, ignore, and even abet criminal behavior when they fear that exposure of that behavior would deminish the institution, because their status as élites is typically dependent on the esteem in which people hold the institution. So, along with the Church, we see the same behaviors in banking, academics, medicine, politics, etc. in which all sorts of crimes go unpunished, because punishment would wreck the esteem of the institution and therefore sully its members.

        That’s not to excuse anything. But I wish people would focus on the human actors and the human institutions that need reform and stop attacking the religion itself. Given the latest revelations of the pedophilia and suppression of inquiries and prosecutions in the BBC and Westminster (which the Independent has been covering laterly), should we liquidate the British government and ban parliamentary democracy and the press? Of course not.

        The world would be a far better place with a Catholic Church that lives up to its doctrines of social justice. We need a functional Church hierarchy and leadership to deal with the libertarian mess we’re in. I hope and pray that the Pope can bring that off.

        1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

          This religion claims to be the personification of, and mouthpiece for, their deity. What more falsehood would one need to cut ties with this bullshit factory?

          The head of the beast is rotten to the core. Remove it, and the body dies.

          We can’t have that, now, can we?

          1. David Lentini

            And every other religion? All religions and organizations have these problems too. Why don’t mention them as well? Or do you just reserve your bile for Catholics?

            1. bob

              Nothing gets the bile up for fire breathing protestants more than catholics. Even Orwell had a special hate place in his heart for those filthy papists.

              Right up until the scandal became well known the church was one of the bigger, effective, local lobby organizations in the US, in spite of what the larger organization was doing. How about those “rebel” nuns at Fordam?

              This is also a good place to note that most of the push back to the contraception “mandate” came from Catholic Charities. Never in their name, but always with them in mind. CC is separate from the church and also the only provider and “contractor” for the federal gov’t for social services in many areas, thanks to Bush allowing churches to provide and charge for it. Over 95% of their budget comes from fed gov. They are not “private”, by any definition, as they continue to claim.

              But, why is no one calling them out for it? Hobby Lobby? Small change. CC? The real (fed gov) money, and lobby, behind the push back.

              1. James Levy

                Catholicism is not a “sect” in the pejorative sense being bandied about here–it is a 2000 year old institution that goes straight back to the early Christians. It may suck as an institution, but it also is responsible for a vast swath of the Western intellectual and artistic tradition. It’s theology is so vastly superior to the dumbed-down justification by faith bullshit of Protestantism it isn’t even funny. Yes, what we need are Holy Roller Baptists and idiot Methodists like George Bush who think that because he is Washed in the Blood of the Lamb all is forgiven. And before anyone brings up Penance, to be forgiven of one’s sins you would have to admit them, repent them, make amends for them, and promise not to do them again–it is not an automatic process, it is always conditional on ACTION, not bullshit Protestant blabbing about giving your life to Christ (then do whatever the fuck because you are “saved”).

                You want to haul all those priest off to jail–fine. It would be a great thing. But this idea that Catholicism hasn’t been absolutely central to our civilization and hasn’t contributed mightily to human thought and understanding is just vitriolic propaganda. I agree with Bill Buckley about nothing but one point: being an anti-Catholic bigot is the only kind of prejudice that liberal intellectuals not only countenance, they embrace.

                1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

                  I am an atheist, priorly — and against my will — steeped in “Christianity.”

                  I do believe in the ‘Jefferson Bible’ version of Christianity, as those ideals can be adopted without believing in a deity.

                  That said, I believe that all organized religions are equally false. I believe that the Catholic SECT of “Christianity” — being the oldest, largest, and most powerful — has committed war against the innocent, genocide for profit, and a laundry list of other despicable behaviors, culminating in the most recent crime of endemic and enterprise-wide child molestation.

                  Don’t get me wrong — every sect of every monotheistic religion is just as dirty, the Catholics simply have a longer rap sheet.

                  It’s an ongoing criminal enterprise, if there ever was one.

                  If you don’t believe me, ask the Cathars.



                  1. bob

                    You have to go all the way back to the 14th century? You’re a brit, aren’t you? Any jesuit can name 50 other, better instances since.

                    Your pilgrimage to Spain to take a shot at a few papists fails, just like Orwell.

                    ” All visible matter, including the human body, was created by Satan; it was therefore tainted with sin”

                    Predestination? Sound familiar?

                    I really don’t understand the typical “remembered history” of catholism, and its split during the reformation.

                    The catholics weren’t mean enough for the northern europeans. “protestants” were saying that the catholics weren’t severe enough in their earthly judgement and hate for fellow humans. The current zeitgeist of history seems to be that “protestants” were somehow more “progressive”. Not at all true. They were much, much meaner. As your example points out, that’s pretty hard to do, compared to the rap sheet of the catholic church.

                2. bob

                  In case my sarcasm meter is out of whack, I agree with you. The catholic church, especially in the US, is responsible for a lot of the progressive ideas that managed to come about in the early 1900’s, usually through honest to goodness grass roots activism. Frequently enough, separate from, but held together and supported by the “church”.

                  That doesn’t mean they don’t have problems, like any institution.

                  As John Dolan recently put it, “america is a calvinist state”. The catholics took just enough of the edge off so that most people don’t even notice that anymore. His observations on the “evolution” of the abortion debate tell a lot. In the 1970’s, you couldn’t find a protestant who had a problem with abortion, as an example.

                  ** I don’t have a problem with abortion either.

      2. Leviathan

        I think this pope would agree to some extent. He has spoken of falling in love with a woman as a young man, so he must know how hard a life of abstaining is. He also said in this recent interview that celibacy was introduced into the church 900 years after Christ’s death. Clearly he is putting this on the table for possible change. This pope is a revolutionary, in the best sense of the term.

    5. ohmyheck

      Agreed, Katniss.
      I watched this video with James Corbett and David L. Smith of Geneva Business Insider. They both delve into the topic and discuss the very things you claim. This discussion did not go in to the Catholic Church scandal.

      The elites are in on it because they are either the perps, or family of the perps, and therefore must hide the facts. The other Elites who know, use it as blackmail, and their bureaucratic lackeys do the propaganda, deception and lies. This has been going on for a VERY long time.

      1. optimader

        ..goes far wider than just the Catholic Church
        well, it’s a go a place as any to start.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        The deranged obsession of catholicism with sexuality absolutely precludes the “pedophiles are born, not made” and ” well, 5% of the population does it” defenses for a group that purports to speak for GOD. The catholic religion is not the “general population” and cannot claim the mantle when convenient.

        Would that they extended the same tolerance to the LGBT community.

        1. cwaltz

          You hit on what really frosts my cookies about the Catholic Church. This a group that claims the “moral authority” to speak for God(even to the point where they’ve been responsible for the DEATHS of people by disallowing them medical interventions). If you are going to claim the moral authority to tell me what God does and does not consider sin, then you better remove the beam from your eye before doing so. I grew up in churches, however as I’ve grown older I’ve become jaded on the institutions. I really don’t get the whole entire I need an interpreter(priest, pastor, etc etc) to tell me what God wants from me thing. It seems more like an effort to control people then a genuine effort to work on God’s behalf. Then again, I’ve seen these churches speak of God’s grace and forgiveness of sins in one breath and the fires of Hell in another(something that seems the antithesis of Grace or forgiveness.)

    6. Leviathan

      You are 100% correct, of course. But as a Catholic who has fallen away from the church, this admission and the commitment of this pope to right a sinking ship actually bring tears to my eyes. In the horror show of contemporary life. Francis is a sword of justice and a champion of hope.

        1. Leviathan

          True, but unlike “he who shall not be named,” Francis spent the first year in office consolidating power and laying the groundwork for fundamental change. He also, simultaneously, engaged the global public and went out of his way live a lifestyle that set an example for others, clergy and laity alike. The president has talked of change but spent more time perfecting his swing than delivering any. Obama’s plummeting popularity may even be influenced by his reflected failure alongside Francis’ success.

          1. David Lentini

            I think Pope Francis has said and done enough to have earned a chance to keep going. Unlike our that other hopey-changey guy, the Pope has taken on the monied establishment and the Church’s senior hierarchy. Haven’t seen much of that elsewhere these days.

            I quit the church over 30 years ago, but returned after my wife, who was raised atheist, decided to join. Both of us disagree with the Church on a variety of political and moral matters. But we also find hope and comfort in many of the Church’s teachings and support the Church’s social doctrines; so we try our best to push what we see as right and just. We both feel that if we abandon the Church, only the bad will remain. And we don’t see much hope in market morality that prevails today.

            1. savedbyirony

              First, thanks for much of what you have said above. I agree with a fair amount of it, but as for taking on the church’s senior hierarchy – i don’t know. He made Mueller a Cardinal and left him to run the CDF which basically means no major changes from the Benedict regime when it comes to both doctrine and hard-handed, unjust enforcement practices. The forthcoming Synod on the Family this fall is looking to be yet another retrenchment of the old guard Bishops’ power. The USCCB just thumbs it noses at Francis example. And, as this article speaks specifically about (some) of the sexual abuse that has and still does occur, look at how the Vatican dealt with the U.N. last fall over the issue. The same lies about hierarchical responsibility and powers over priests and their behaviors, etc. Plus the above mention of canonical law is still in the books. Not only are members of the hierarchy not required to report offenses, they are still actually instructed not to, and still rewarded for doing so.

              Unlike you, i don’t find “comfort” at all in the institutional RCC, but i do find it in the community of people there in the pews. They’re my “family” and i care about them. I do find irritation, inspiration, responsibility, potential and noble goals in the RCC and its community, so how does one walk away from that when so many in the hierarchy can inflict so much pain on those one cares about? And, whether he intends to or not (and i think he does), i do think Francis is moving the greater, inclusive body of the RCC in more of a Vatican II inspired social justice direction but as he himself mentioned very early on, we all are going to have to make things messy to get this accomplished. (However, i will add, i definitely do not think Francis ideas towards equal or progressive social justice either inside or outside the RCC extend much towards females.)

              1. cwaltz

                I tend to agree. I see nothing that suggests there has been any real challenge to the churches hierarchy. Last I saw they were still stepping on the necks of the nuns who dared to suggest that perhaps WOMEN within the church should be allowed to be part of church conversation.

                And I’d say that as long as the church insists that God can’t or doesn’t speak to half of the population(as if they couldn’t be vessels for His word) I can’t take them seriously.

    7. fresno dan

      “With regard to the Catholic Church, it’s the PARENTS that I can’t understand”

      It is one of those things that is very disturbing to me – but I understand that humans have the ability to rationalize or tolerate really unjust activities (e.g., our political and banking systems).
      We had in Fresno in my youth all sorts of incidents of priests and child sex. To me it was amazing how when the crime is committed by a priest, the idea that sex crimes are an “illness” and should be treated with therapy, and was ACCEPTED by the parents and authorities, was just remarkable. And the parents still went to the Catholic church!!!!
      But like I say, those in a position of power are able to control the narrative and set the terms (again, think of the banks). This has been going on since I was aware of it as a teenager….and by all accounts, for DECADES before that.
      But I would agree with Everdeen – we don’t know what the rate of child sex abuse in public schools really is either. Just as Catholic priests aren’t uniquely virtuous, the same lack of virtue applies to public school teachers. And whether it is NSA or the Veterans hospitals, or the CALPERS pension funds, all bureaucracies first imperative is cover their own as*

    8. ChrisPacific

      I wonder how long this has been going on. I’ve seen comments in news reports saying things like “over 50 years” but the Catholic Church has been around a lot longer than that. Was there ever a time when it didn’t happen?

    9. Bobbo

      Has NC ever posted anything positive about the Roman Catholic Church? I think the anti-Catholic vitriol is one of the blind spots of an otherwise exceptional blog.

  3. DakotabornKansan

    More cute squirrels @

    Squirrel populations are robust in my neighborhood.

    I hate the bad behavior of those cute little terrorists.

    “A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit!” – Sarah Jessica Parker

    While rats at least know fear, city squirrels seem emboldened by municipal codes that protect them.

    1. Brian

      Where I am from, the squirrels are responsible for most of the millions of trees that were planted for the last few thousand years.
      rats indeed

      1. OIFVet

        True enough, but that doesn’t excuse them for digging out all of my bulbs and regularly raiding my tomatoes. Cute little f***ers though.

  4. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: The divergent languages of business and medicine KevinMD

    “In her Los Angeles Times review of Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, columnist Suzanne Koven notes that the word “empathy” itself is new, absent even in the 1971 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.”

    And, judging from the current state of affairs, it seems that the word “SHAME” still has not made the cut.

    1. Carolinian

      A cynic might contend that the whole purpose of business school is to provide an intellectual framework for exploitation or at least a morally neutral stance when engaging with society. I believe shrinks have a word for this: intellectualization.

      I’m not quite that cynical but still, there seems to be a lot of confusion at the top of the heap these days. See the Pilkington story on economics.

  5. Banger

    I had to laugh reading the “U.S. Sees Risks in Assisting a Compromised Iraqi Force” in the NYT today. Hahahahaha!

    The article even quoted generals involved in the “training” of the Iraqi “military” I would have thought these guys would be ignored since they dramatically failed at their job at great expense to those of us who pay taxes. Why isn’t the NYT asking for criminal indictments against the clearly fraudulent training of these alleged soldiers. Where did the money go? Who got the money? Why are those generals still drawing pay? I’m just kidding, btw, I certainly don’t expect the main official propaganda organ of the National Security State to criticize itself or its superiors. The Iraq War was a criminal enterprise of the most disgusting and brutal kind–the U.S. gov’t makes the Mexican drug cartels look better every day.

    1. fresno dan

      there’s a long, long list of questions that don’t get asked….
      Pretty much every day, you could ask the US government with regard to a 1,000 incidents, “what did you know, and when did you know it?”
      Of course, you could also ask 10,000 times , “Why didn’t you know it, considering the fortune you have spent, and who was fired for incompetence, and who was prosecuted for malingering?” (NSA…not knowing about 9/11, or WMD???)

  6. Arouet

    “BP’s Latest Estimate Says World’s Oil Will Last 53.3 Years ”

    …at the current rates of extraction and consumption. But extraction has been steadily declining since the 70s, while consumption has been rising.

    1. fresno dan

      I’ve always said, we will conserve….never.
      But reality doesn’t care. We will put less CO2 in the air when we can’t.
      Interesting that the antidote du jour is squirrels – much more foresight than humans

  7. Banger

    There is something stunningly abusive about the current Israeli attack on Gaza. I know the whole exercise has some “justification” because Hamas seems to be throwing inept rockets at Israel, like a four-year old child taking on an adult by punching helplessly at his legs.

    It reminds me of the lost opportunity that ended, partly, with the assassination of Rabin by the Israeli right that is now firmly in charge and demands conflict to stay in power just as the U.S. National Security State demands conflict to stay in power. The other factor in the rise of the Israeli right has been those associated with AIPAC who not only appear to control the U.S. Congress but the Israeli state as well pushing them ever to the right into this sort of cruelty. In the end, it may have been better for Israel to directly do what it has been trying to do for decades and that is to ethnically cleanse all of the Palestinian “state” and be done with it.

    People who don’t know what it is like to be bombed and brutalized have no idea the trauma it causes. I grew up hearing stories from my mother about being on the receiving end of bombs in WWII.

    1. Banger

      Once, the Geneva Conventions on War were actually, at least, something one discussed but now those agreements are null and void–they no longer exist. Collective punishment, bombing infrastructure (not to mention torture) are now the norm for U.S. and Israeli military operations.

    2. abynormal

      ive always felt Ian Anderson nailed the ‘universal’ effect your speaking of…amazingly i backed into this video with a bit of original footage
      I’ll take you down to that bright city mile
      There to powder your sweet face and paint on a smile
      That will show all of the pleasures and none of the pain
      When you join my explosion and play with my games, hell

      Warchild, dance the days and dance the nights away

      No unconditional surrender, no armistice day
      Each night I’ll die in my contentment and the lie, hide in your grave
      While you bring me water and I’ll give you wine
      Let me dance in your tea cup and you shall swim in mine
      Find more similar lyrics on
      Warchild, dance the days and dance the nights away

      Open your windows and I’ll walk through your doors
      Let me live in your country, let me sleep by your shores

      Warchild, dance the days and dance the nights away

    3. Inverness

      What is also key is for the Western media to focus on Jewish Israeli terror, some of which is institutionalized, some of which isn’t (thinking of the recent torture of that fifteen year old boy). Many of us seem to think that only Muslims are capable of terror — we’ve orientalized it, as something only the “other does.” So when yet another white guy shoots up a school, that isn’t terror? Or when caucasian German neo-nazi cell systematically kills over a period of years, that stays of the radar, too? Oh yeah, remember Breivik in Norway, and the premature reports that it must have been Islamic fundamentalists? It isn’t just Israel that could use a cultural revolution (which I couldn’t read about, since the Haaretz link has a paywall).

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      “People who don’t know what it is like to be bombed and brutalized have no idea the trauma it causes.”

      Yes, but the israelis DO KNOW, or claim to. It was their persecution and brutalization at the hands of Europeans that purportedly justified the establishment of the jewish state as well as their current murderous jihad.

      Which makes their genocidal rampage against the Palestinians that much more heinous.

      1. Inverness

        Well, let’s face it: to quote Art Spiegelman, suffering doesn’t ennoble anyone. The Israelis are not unique among humans for behaving monstrously after being victims themselves. This is an old story — see the Russians at the end of World War II in Germany, as just one example. After the Nazis’ slaughter of Russians, the Russians were ready for revenge with mass rapes and graves. Or just look at the profiles of so many serial killers, many of whom were violently and sexually abused.

        1. The Heretic

          Some people do unto others, as others had done unto them. Especially when it concerns cruelty.
          This does not excuse them, but can be understood as an important factor in explaining their behaviour today. I am prepared to assert that this is a law of human nature, that applies to many people.

          There are very few, who despite suffering a history of cruelty, can forgive their enemies and do the opposite for all persons that they meet. I would argue that this behaviour is inherently contrary to our biological instincts; the fact that this does exist is evidence of the divine spark that is common to all humanity. But, it is an impractical way to govern a society using expecting this; and it is immoral for a person to live his/her life expecting this from others.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        That’s the bewildering paradox that Banger illuminates. It’s incomprehensible that the IDF could actually morph into the Nazi Gestapo, but that fact is now undeniable. It’s inconceivable that victims of child rape could become predatory pedophiles, but it occurs far too often. How does a race persecuted and massacred by a holocaust become a supreme chosen race, translate “Got mit uns” directly into Hebrew, and engage in its own pogrom of widespread brutality, ethnic cleansing and mass-murder in defacto concentration camps? It’s baffling and I suppose it reveals a peculiar blindness to which all of us must be susceptible.

        1. susan the other

          A giant field of natgas just offshore and belonging to Gaza can make you do strange things. Maybe even false flag kidnappings and murders. We live in a world without explanations because the truth is so banal. It all seems desperate by the Israelis. I’ve never seen Netanyahu tear-up at a press conference before. Kinda like Little George choking back a sob when talked about the lives lost in the Twin Towers. Why should we believe anybody?

        1. Jagger

          Or this:

          —-An image of Israelis in Sderot who gathered on a hill to watch and celebrate Gaza being bombed has gone viral on Twitter. The photo posted by a Danish journalist caused uproar online.—-

          Clearly shows the real level of danger and fear on the Israeli side. Sderot, 2 Km from Gaza. Better than watching TV or the World Cup.

    5. Carolinian

      Of course the real issue for Americans is our own role in all this. Ironically if we just ceased our involvement with the region it would probably be the best thing that could ever happen to the Palestinians. As Michael Smith of says: “Israel–a small country i know far too much about.”

      Meanwhile there’s Chris Christie, governor of Tel Aviv, er, New Jersey.

    6. James Levy

      Unless I’m nuts, the Israeli bombing started first, then the rocket attacks. The death toll on each side is the truly revealing fact, as it always is, but how many dead Arabs equals one dead Israeli Jew? 100? 500? 1000? In the American media, my guess would be that 500-1 would be the ratio of equality. And with the borders sealed, where do the media expect the Gazans to flee even if the Israelis drop leaflets on them telling them to get lost before the troops roll in a la Fallujah? That may be the best question of all that is off the table.

      1. dan

        In one case the IOF gave a Gaza family less than a minute’s notice before bombing their house. That’s just how the world’s “most moral” army rolls.

        1. dan

          Suggests a sure hit Israeli reality show: Will They Evacuate in Time? Spoiler: they never do

  8. diptherio

    Re: Junior Traders Offered Immunity ~FT

    So the DoJ remembers how to “roll-up” suspects, or whatever the appropriate term of art is, but only when it’s foreign banks involved? How convenient: DoJ gets to say it’s being tough on banks while US banksters have their overseas competition harangued by the authorities. But one needs to ask, if it works for Deutsche Bank and UBS, why not for JP Morgan and Goldman?

    DoJ: enforcers for Wall Street, paid for by your tax dollars. Turns out, the enemy of your enemy isn’t necessarily your friend, especially if the enemy of your enemy is in cahoots with another of your enemies and not a one of them care a wit for you or your fate…

    1. fresno dan

      if it works for Deutsche Bank and UBS, why not for JP Morgan and Goldman?

      Uh, bribery? WHOOPS! I meant campaign contributions, and our o so wise treasury and DoJ officials, who understood the precarious state of the economy that simply could not take justice…..and this precarious state of the economy caused by???? That’s why DoJ never prosecutes children who have murdered their parents….who have made millions in campaign contributions.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      They made the mistake of starting with Goldman. Remember Fabrice Torre, aka “Fabulous Fab”?

      The suit against him was almost certainly the result of failed private negotiations to get him to turn evidence. But the SEC can’t prosecute and Goldman people really, really drink the Kool Aid. Fabrice seemed to be naive enough to believe he’d have a future with Goldman if he hung tough. Goldman strung him along for a few years while the case was in process and quietly got rid of him.

      But this may have been by design. We’ve discussed at gory length about how Robert Khuzami, the head of enforcement at the SEC, had been the general counsel for the Americas for Deutsche from 2004 ot 2009. Any serious investigation of CDOs would lead straight to Deutsche, the employer of the patient zero of toxic CDOs, one Greg Lippmann, and would implicate Khuzami.

  9. Inverness

    Speaking of institutionalized abuse, the New Yorker’s coverage of Poor Children Will Be Left Behind has improved since their longread on Diane Ravitch. This just came out, and well worth a read:

    When you threaten school closures, kids are not only taught to the test — principals and teachers will cheat, so their bloody schools won’t get shut down. This story puts a human face on the entire, degrading process.

  10. Carolinian

    re the story on libraries: I find it interesting that in our privatizing, tax cutting age the public libraries are one branch of “the commons” that seem to be holding their own. For example in my smallish city the library is, and long has been, one of the central institutions. Upstate SC is probably the most conservative region, but nobody talks about cutting the appropriation for our county system–perhaps the state’s best. And the library may well be our most democratic county service…upper middle class mix freely with the poor.

    Anyway, I realize this sunny picture may not be true everywhere. I’ve read, for example, that NYC’s famously great library system is under some pressure (all that exploitable real estate). But still, libraries could offer some examples of how to broaden the public sphere.

    1. trish

      “our county system–perhaps the state’s best.”

      That may play a role. More push against the forces working against anything public.

      I work in a library in the south. Back-woods town. I’m a mere peon, part-timer (the trend- no benefits necessary). We’ve felt it here. Funds cut, attacks on pensions, no benefits for many new hires, reliance on “friends” boards to supplement dwindling funds, etc.

      There has definitely been an attack on funding for libraries in this country (ie NYC), in Britain, at least. Includes privatization pushes, sell-offs…

      And I find it more of the crapification that librarians here are now called library managers. and patrons frequently called customers.

      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps I have a rose colored view then.

        I should say that the library directors have taken pains to build bridges with the local business community and plastered corporate logos all over the new headquarters building (i.e. the “Milliken atrium”). This seemed annoying at first but in retrospect was pretty shrewd. I think you’d have trouble finding anyone in our town who doesn’t support our library.

  11. trish

    Re selective seed abortion.

    Thanks so much for this interesting post.

    I am not surprised any longer by findings like these- though I always find them incredibly fascinating.
    I have two budding entomologist/naturalist sons -one with autism who has a whole lot more feeling for the non-human creatures of this world than his own species- and both regale me on hikes with a gazillion details of the incredibly complex behavior of insects and -all so interwoven with their ecosystems, including parasites…indeed many if not most animals, insects, plants appear to have parasites. It’s like one big planetary organism orchestral dance. Which we are destroying.
    Anyway, that other inhabitants of our planet are complex, intelligent (in their particular niche ways), emotional…what utterly self-absorbed, stupid, ignorant, destructive, and cruel animals we humans are…

    1. diptherio

      The Secret Life of Plants is still a pretty good source on plant “neurology”. This new finding doesn’t surprise me at all.

      But I don’t think Yves, or anyone else, need feel bad about eating plants. By and large, that’s how they propagate. The ones that don’t want to be eaten have figured out ways to stop it. Mostly, the plants that we eat either depend directly on being eaten for their propagation (fruits) or indirectly by being valuable as a food source for humans. All evolution is co-evolution, after all….

      1. trish

        “need feel bad about eating plants” I agree and agree that that is co-evolution- although dumping herbicides, pesticides, etc doesn’t fit nicely into that picture…
        Of course that the “pests” evolve rapidly to thwart the poisons.

        Interestingly, a book I read YEARS ago when young and immature that stayed however fuzzily in my mind (and just looked up on amazon and intend to order w/ next paycheck) is Should Trees Have Standing by Christopher D. Stone. I think worth a read.

      2. foppe


        So now I’m going to have to feel guilty about eating plants too?

        Not unless you can somehow infer sentience from this; and that’s never been established yet. Plants are quite intriguing though; a point touched on here in a quirky way. In any case, the fewer animals and animal products one eats, the fewer plants (who serve as livestock fodder) are harmed.


        Anyway, that other inhabitants of our planet are complex, intelligent (in their particular niche ways), emotional…what utterly self-absorbed, stupid, ignorant, destructive, and cruel animals we humans are…

        Agreed. :/

        1. Raymond Robitaille

          My intuition is that, like all living beings, plants are a lot more than singular beings. They are ecosystems made up of thousands of different microscopic species. So when a plant seeds to reproduce itself, in fact it is the entire ecosystem it represents that is reproducing itself. This would explain the self-destruction of defective seeds.
          The same goes for insects, animals, and human beings. Maybe that explains why we lose control over what we do, like when we fall asleep. Each human being is an ecosystem of about 10,000 different bacteria species and who knows how many viruses and other creatures.
          I would even go further and say that animals and plants are superstructures created by bacteria and other creatures about 500,000 times smaller than the human being, just like cities are superstructures created by human society.

        2. cwaltz

          One of the reasons I’ve pretty much rejected veganism is this idea that somehow if I don’t eat something with a face that I’m not eating something that is living. I tend to agree with the Native Americans. Everything we eat is a life force and has a spirit that is meant to be celebrated, respected, and given thanks to.

          1. Foppe

            Please explain to me how paying people to raise and subsequently kill 56 billion land animals and a trillion fish a year relates to “respecting life”. As for the rest, I am pretty sure that if you would get the same percentage of your nutritional needs from animal products as NA Indians were, you wouldn’t be eating the way you are; historically, animal products made up a few percentage points of total food consumed over the course of a year; not the 20%+ of total macronutrients a day that we see now.

  12. trish

    re children aren’t worth very much.

    Re Caldwell’s five mechanisms by which education reduces fertility by reshaping economic relationships.

    I would add a sixth, perhaps: education about contraception within a country, a culture.

    Christopher Hitchens may have gotten some things wrong but I think he was mostly right about birth control in poor countries and empowering woman: “The cure for poverty has a name, in fact: it’s called the empowerment of women. If you give women some control over the rate at which they reproduce, if you give them some say, [the power to take themselves] off the animal cycle of reproduction to which nature and some doctrine—religious doctrine condemns them, and then if you’ll throw in a handful of seeds perhaps and some credit, the floor of everything in that village, not just poverty, but education, health, and optimism will increase.”

    That “throw in a handful of seeds perhaps and some credit” thing a bit dubious…microcredit became yet another squeeze-the-poor scheme for the kleptocrats.
    I would say birth control, education, along w/ basic food, shelter, sanitary provision…

    1. Eureka Springs

      Thanks.. Honduras is such an underreported story…. yet another ghastly glimpse of who we are and what we do, always.

      We are monsters.

      1. susan the other

        I saw footage last nite of the “first lady of Honduras” talking to the mothers of children they had sent across the border. She was genuinely sad. The women/mothers all said they wanted a better future for their children. So duh. Get rid of multi-national corporations and petty fascist princes taking their kickbacks. No? She’s got her nerve trying to gain sympathy for her class of rich creeps.

    2. Banger

      I urge everyone to read the article listed above.

      When in reality, what I’ve seen over the past 17 years that I’ve been working in Honduras is that if it weren’t for the massive militarization, the military occupation of Honduras by the United States, where there is by the count of my colleague, David Vine, whose writing a book on military bases, there is over 14 bases and installations in Honduras, U.S. bases and installations. And if it weren’t for our support for a murderous, military and police services in Honduras most of these human rights abuses, that are causing people to flee from the country, would not be happening. And people would not be having to flee from Honduras….

      This is, as others have noted a major unreported story that starts long ago. The US has, for over a century, systematically attempted to make life as miserable as possible for the residents of Central America. In Guatamala the U.S. Puppets committed a massive genocide against both the Mayan people and assorted leftists. We also know that the U.S. Supported deaths squads operated with impunity in El Salvador even killing an Archbishop–this would never have happened without the orders of the CIA. Nicaragua was torn to pieces by the Reagan administration for daring to overthrow a regime that featured systematic rape and torture of the population. It is, in fact, impossible to invent a more evil group that American policy planners in the region during the Cold War. Also mixed up in all of this was the dramatic rise in Cocaine use in many areas of the country in the eighties as a direct result of CIA drug smuggling that has been a intricate part of all CIA operations throughout the work as Douglas Valentine, Peter Dale Scott and many others have documented.

      The result of these nasty policies has been the near-destruction of civil society in many areas–surprisingly some areas have managed to cope that has motivated people of all ages to come to the U.S. to fulfill the purpose of driving US wages and working conditions ever lower. The goal today of ALL U.S. Foreign policy is to destroy all off civil society to creat large plantations of serfs to serve the pleasure of the rich–btw, for the most part this is not a conscious plan by most policy makers–but I honestly believe it is the prime unconscious motivator at least these days.

  13. Skeptic

    How Property Tax Lenders Prey on the State’s Most Vulnerable Homeowners Texas Observer (Nikki)

    I’ve challenged my property tax three times. I have won two of them. People where I live blindly accept property tax valuations and rarely challenge them. There is a capped system: residents may be assessed but only pay the capped portion, the rest is deferred until you sell the house. Well, that is basically a mounting tax lien on your house. Most people do not realize this. I’ve learned a lot about the system here.

    Here’s some info from Nevada, far from where I live. A different jurisdiction but lots of similarities, including one of the corporations involved:
    “Tax experts say Nevada’s use of the costing service manual published by the private firm Marshall & Swift is an unreliable way to determine the value of improvements. “Who is to say how accurate they are?” asks Richard R. Almy, former executive director of the International Association of Assessing Officers. “This is a weak foundation for a tax system.””

    A variation of that very costing manual is used in my jurisdiction, which is in a completely different country!! Welcome to Globalization. In addition, that very corporation, Marshall & Swift was involved in a case in Louisiania:
    “By using claims processing software manufactured by Marshall & Swift/Boeckh and Xactware, the industry has been able to standardize its tactics for low-balling claims, and create a “tainted” database of claims settlements figures which the industry uses to further depress estimates for what people need to repair their homes, according to the lawsuit.. Meanwhile, all of this data is centralized by Xactware’s parent company, Insurance Services Office, better known as ISO, allowing companies to collude.”

    The Property Tax System, like all other parts of the economy, is riddled with fraud, deception, manipulation. If you own property and want to teach your children how government really works challenge your assessment.

  14. Howard Beale IV

    Scalia’s major screw-up: How SCOTUS just gave liberals a huge gift-Salon:

    “My husband, Tom, and I have been dancing gleefully with our Corgi Bessie in our modest home every evening since the Hobby Lobby ruling, because it’s clear that the conservative majority of justices has written itself into a corner in which it cannot refuse religious exemptions from selected tax obligations. The same preponderance of Supremes will have no way out of ruling, for example, that I and fellow Quakers (plus the Amish, Mennonites and others) do not have to pay the roughly 20 percent of our taxes that goes toward supporting the U.S. military. I’m firing up little Bessie with talk of her own backyard goat herd, and my husband (not a Quaker) with the promise of a 1992 Jaguar and a weekend at the Saratoga racetrack once my tax savings come through.”

    1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

      Their ruling created a superior class of citizen, to which you do not belong (you, assumably, being a flesh-and-blood person).

    2. jrs

      Yea good luck with that one. I want what they are smoking. First of all the Supremes tried to put a lot of fences around the ruling. Then secondly the Obamacare mandate is weird, because it’s paid for by a not a tax tax. I do think an actual excemption from paying for single payer say paid for via income taxes, would open that floodgate because it would be an exemption to income taxes period. And so in that case it would be hard not to let the Quakers refuse to pay taxes for wars.

      But by the way what’s so great about the concept of allowing religious objection to wars in that case and not non-religious (humanist) objections? It still makes TWO TIERS of citizens, it’s purely discrimantory.

      1. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        We don’t call them ‘Religious Objectors’, when it comes to serving in wars — we call them ‘Conscientious Objectors.’ Thus, atheists and all others should be covered under that very broad appellation.

        The point is that the law either treats everyone equally (even corporate super-citizens), or it doesn’t.

        Of all of the ways that not passing the ERA in the early ’80s could come back to bite the citizenry on the ass, I’ll bet no one suspected that corporate human rights would be elevated above flesh-and-blood people.

  15. Ellis

    “BP’s Latest Estimate Says World’s Oil Will Last 53.3 Years.”

    Oil companies have been making this kind of prediction for more than a century! It is a justification for higher prices and profits.

  16. fresno dan

    “4.There is a lot of confusion over how the implicit amortization of unrecognized losses takes place over time. Let us assume that an investor borrows $100 to invest in a project that creates only $80 of value. The project, in other words, creates a loss of $20. If the loss is not immediately recognized, there is a gap between the true economic value of the debt servicing cost and the increase in productivity associated with the project. This gap must be covered by implicit transfers from some other part of the economy, and these transfers reduce the economic activity that would have otherwise been created.If the gap is covered by financial repression, for example, (i.e. the authorities force down the borrowing cost to less than the increase in productivity generated by the project, so that the borrow shows a profit), the cost of amortizing the loss is passed onto the net lenders (usually, but not always, the household sector, who are net lenders to the banking system) in the form of a lower return on their savings. This lower return reduces their total income and, in so doing, reduces their consumption, which effectively reduces future GDP growth by reducing demand.”

  17. subgenius

    LRB burning man piece…

    Wow fact check fail…2cb invented by a PhD student in Berlin in 2003? Utter bollox…Alexander Shulgin published synthesis details in pihkal in 1991.

    Wish these over-entitled wankers would stay away from both writing and the man

    1. optimader

      BM jumped the shark w/ Hula Cam in 2012.. they all have moles w/ suspicious borders now : (

    2. ewmayer

      All the narcissism of 60s hippie culture without a single socially worthwhile “common good” cause to attch it to (the ‘environmentalism’ and other nonsense are transparently bogus). Paying people to cater to indulgement of your phony “revelatory experiences” in some “way kewl out-there locale”, writing tediously prolix and style-forced blog posts about it and then dutifully returning to your corporate techno-stooge job … pathetic, just pathetic.

      “And if this place felt right, if it had expanded so much over the years because to so many people it felt like ‘home’, it had something to do with the inadequacy of the old ways that governed our lives in our real homes, where we felt lonely, isolated and unable to form the connections we wanted.”

      Uh, babe, about that feeling “lonely, isolated and unable to form the connections [you] want” — I get a very strong sense that this has bugger-all to do with your locale. As the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are”.

    3. Jack Parsons

      Burning Man has always jumped the shark, three years after your first time. The over-entitled bit, yeah, I went during the first dot-com boom and then 2003, and the same dynamics are there. It was less so in 2003, after the money ran out.

      subgenius: read the part in parentheses as one coherent whole.

      What this article skips past is at the beginning- there are 65,000 people and there is nothing to buy. Let that sink in. Nothing to buy. What is there left to do when you can’t buy something? That’s what happens at Burning Man, and it’s a lot more than sex & drugs. It is shock treatment for how you live and how you think about life. There are many people who go every year. It is a second home for them, living with other people who want to live several days with nothing to buy.

      I haven’t been since 2003 and have no need- I had my “Burning Man” experience with a couple of 24-hour days, just wandering around looking at art projects and talking to people. I highly recommend the place, at least once.

  18. Brindle

    re: “What Was Left Behind :Ukraine…”

    Kind of surprised NC posted this very slanted, pro-Kiev article. 98% of the destruction in Eastern Ukraine has been done by Kiev forces, yet the article either blames the rebels or uses the passive voice; as if the artillery and aerial attacks just sorta happened.
    To anyone who has been following— the US/UK/NATO propaganda campaign is often close to 100% false—total lies.

    1. OIFVet

      It is meant to facilitate discussion, not to indicate agreement with the contents and the premise of the article.

  19. Yonatan

    “What Was Left Behind: Ukraine’s Cities After Rebel Retreat”

    I’m not surprised there are no pictures of the ‘filtration’ camps that are being set up by the Neo-Nazi regime. This is yet more censorship by omission, as exemplified by the supression of evidence indicating an organ trafficking scandal involving high level Ukraine officials and military staff. In case you regard these possibilities as unlikely, the Right Sector are proud of how they treat the opposition. They have produce branded videos showing an anti-fascist being hanged. They chose a non-drop method which causes the person to die slowly from suffocation rather than quickly from a broken neck. These people, with 6 ministers in the Ukrainian government (covering defense, education and energy) intend to take Ukraine out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation system, with an aim to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively.

    Thanks a bunch, US.

  20. Brindle

    Thanks, most NC readers probably are able to discern propaganda when encountering it.

  21. Oregoncharles

    “Geophysicists Concerned as Oklahoma’s Earthquake Total Surpasses California’s” – it looks like they’ve waked up the Madrid Fault, or something connected to it. I’d get out of there.
    Of course, I live in western Oregon, also overdo for a major quake.
    Interestingly, the Yellowstone Volcano is also starting to heat up. Could be quite a combination.
    Looks like Earth is trying to shake us off, like a dog with fleas.

      1. optimader

        “capable of ending civilization in the US”
        just the people that have acclimated to sitting inside watching TV will survive.

    1. Vatch

      Fortunately, I don’t think that’s the New Madrid fault. That’s in Missouri, near the borders with Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Oklahoma is a couple of hundred miles away. But you raise a separate disturbing question. Is fracking being used in that part of Missouri?

      1. Oregoncharles

        The steady increase in small quakes suggests that it’s building up to something. I know the New Madrid isn’t under OK; I wonder if there’s a related fault, unknown till now.
        And despite the tone, I’m serious about both that and Yellowstone. That one, in particular, is going to go, and fairly soon. granted, that could be this year or a thousand years from now.

  22. Paul Niemi

    My new thing learned from this blog published today by Michael Pettis, which is titled, “Bad debt cannot simply be “socialized”,” and which refers to China debt, is this interesting concept: Pettis says that the figures for growth in China’s GDP are inflated by the total amount of bad debt that is rolled over each year. Subtract the rollover of the bad debt held by banks and lending entities, and the economic growth figures are actually much lower. He states that China is probably at its “Minsky moment,” and that the private sector debt cannot simply be brought onto the government balance sheet as a way of socializing it. I think the people in brainy places are starting to look at the China debt problem with growing concern.

  23. different clue

    Lambert Strether, if no one else has already addressed your “I should feel guilty about eating plants now?” question . . . I would answer: No. You should cease feeling guilty about eating animals. Many people don’t appreciate just what a totally alien life form from animals plants really are. They were here before us. They have “learned” how to use our needs, desires, and presence to accelerate their own evolution and species proliferation. Do they lack intelligence because they lack animal nervous systems? Animal-chauvinists would no doubt say so. Veganist special pleaders would no doubt agree.
    Perhaps we should apply Dr. McCoy’s classic line from that episode of Star Trek: the Kirk Generation to the plants among whom we live. “Its life, Jim. But not as we know it!”

  24. trinity river

    “How your local library can help you resist the surveillance state”
    “Libraries have also tended to take a strong stand on privacy. The third principle in the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics is, “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.” As Iowa public librarian Laura Crossett likes to tell people, your library record is as confidential as your medical records — if not more so.”
    REALLY? About 2001 or 2002 I mentioned to a librarian in my local library that I would like to see a copy of what I had read in the last 6 months, because I couldn’t remember the name of a book I had read and I wanted to check it out again. She snapped at me that they didn’t keep records like that to ensure the privacy of patrons.
    JUMP AHEAD About a year after it came out that librarians were being asked to release patron’s check out information to the FBI. Some librarians brought a lawsuit opposing this, but could not talk about it to anyone or they would be prosecuted. About a year later. . . I noticed on the top of my library account screen the words “Reading History” and found all the items I had checked out for the last 1 1/2 years. Do I feel that my information is confidential OR do I believe that my reading history is available for my convenience or the FBI’s convenience? Becha can guess!

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